SALINEVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday was a big day in Columbiana County that celebrated a project to give one village in the county a new look.

The Utica Shale Academy in Salineville received a $2.35 million Appalachian Community Grant.

The money will be used to build a new building. The Utica Shale Academy helps train students for the gas industry, heavy equipment production and even robotics. As many as 150 students graduated from the school in the last three years.

Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson believes the new space will help better prepare the students while providing more opportunities.

“Basically, we’re going to make sure that you’re both socially prepared and from a trading standpoint prepared,” said Watson.

“Obviously, it allows us to give opportunities to kids normally don’t get them and hopefully change the footprint of what Appalachian or region looks like,” he added.

The three aspects of the grant were downtown revitalization, workforce development and health and well-being. The Utica Shale Academy won the award by demonstrating an approach to all three.

John Carey is the director of Ohio’s Office of Appalachia. He walked through Salineville and took a tour of the property downtown to see and learn how the grant would be spent.

“And with this grant, we think we’ll see an impact sooner than later, and that’s one of the reasons why Utica Shale was awarded,” said Carey.

The grant comes from a new program and uses ARPA federal dollars. It includes restrictions, but developing the workforce is eligible. The first round for the grant was very competitive. The state had $50 million to give out and $350 million worth of applications.

The grant was awarded in March and the Governor’s Office of Appalachia said one reason Salineville was chosen, is because its project is ready to go.